1. Netflix Watch Instantly
I've had Netflix basically since its inception, but with all of the TV that I watch, my Netflix movies have had a bad habit of collecting dust for months (I finally sent No Country for Old Men back after about six months on top of my DVD player). Even though I've known about the Watch Instantly feature for a while, I've never actually tried it out. I just watched Friday Night Lights Season 2, and let me tell you. it's so nice to just hit "Next" and have all of the episodes right there without having to change disks. Does that make me ridiculously lazy? Probably. I don't care.
Daisies and DSM (and Private Practice, which is being moved to Thursdays after Grey's Anatomy in the "duh" move of the season) were both held back after the writers' strike last year and didn't come back until the fall. Seems like a logical thing to do, right? I mean, the shows had growing followings but still very modest ratings. ABC learned from the CBS Jericho disaster that holding a freshman show for any period of time will sink the ratings. Turns out, though, that holding them for even longer will sink the ratings even further. Who knew?
All sarcasm aside, though, ABC was in a tough spot. What could they have done differently? More thoughts after the jump.
(S01E06) Gotta love that old school funk that the episode started with. I've been constantly commenting about how similar the individual plots and characters are to the original British version of the show (which has been noticed in the feedback), but in this episode I saw a lot of the show coming into its own. Some of the plot differences even make more logical sense that the original version.
The attention to detail from the entire series is superb. Little bits like Sam's frustration with using an old style typewriter add to the flavor of the show. As usual, Michael Imperioli gets the best lines. It wouldn't surprise me if he got a best supporting actor Emmy nomination for this role, despite its cartoonish nature.
(S01E05) "Have you died and gone to moron heaven?" - Gene Hunt
What we had here, my friends, was a real theological episode. There were lots of references to angels, miracles, prayer and the question of whether or not Sam is dead. If so, is he in purgatory or hell or heaven? Does that explain his predicament? And is the old gray beard a vagrant or a heavenly messenger?
Overall, what I really thought made the show percolate was the teaming up of Sam and Clams. "Clams" we learn is Fletcher Bellow, Sam's mentor, and he pops up in the middle of a potentially explosive riot, with African-Americans going after Puerto Ricans when a little girl plummets from a rooftop at the hands -- or so it seems -- of Angel Ramirez.
It's only the second episode of the season, but Liz Lemon is already facing bigger issues than Tracy and Jenna arguing about the profits of Tracy's pornographic videogame ('Goregasm: The Legend of the Dong-Slayer').
Liz has gotten the dreaded jury duty notice, and she's willing to do nothing less than fly to Chicago to get out of it. But she gets a surprise on the way back when The Big O herself -- guest star Oprah Winfrey, playing Oprah Winfrey -- is sitting next to her on the plane.
Liz sees the chance meeting as her chance to get some of Oprah's self-empowering advice on her life. And Oprah sees Liz as, well, a bit of a whacko.
(9:30PM, NBC) 3rd season premiere
If '30 Rock's' second-consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy brings in new viewers, this episode will be an intro to the show at its best.
Liz Lemon (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Tina Fey) has decided there's room to fill in her life after an 80-hour work week, so she's trying to adopt a baby.
But first, she has to impress adoption agent Bev (guest star Megan Mullally), who stops by the office just as Tracy is celebrating the success of his pornographic video game and Jack (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Alec Baldwin) may have to sleep with Geiss's soap opera addict, Dora underpants-wearing, Mark Wahlberg-lovin' daughter to get his GE job back.
ABC's 'Life on Mars' is one of the most promising new shows of this fall TV season -- and some might argue that it's not necessarily new, being a remake of a BBC series of the same name, but it's always been truly American to steal our best ideas from the Brits, anyway. (Oh, kidding.)
Jason O'Mara stars as an NYC detective who goes to bed one day in 2008, but wakes up in 1973. But his girlfriend in the present day is Lisa Bonet, and his girlfriend in 1973 is Gretchen Mol, so life can't be all bad, right?
Michael Imperioli co-stars as another detective, and he and O'Mara sat down for an Outside the Box interview to talk about the show and all things related and unrelated -- such as American accents (O'Mara is Irish), their guilty pleasure TV shows, what TV family they'd want to be a part of, and the worst acting jobs they've ever had.
Check out Outside the Box: Life on Mars, AND notice how good Michael Imperioli looks with a beard. Am I right, or am I right?
O'Mara and Imperioli sat down for an Outside the Box: Life on Mars interview to talk about the show -- which, at the time they taped the interview, was getting its pilot completely scrapped and redone -- and some other stuff, including guilty pleasure shows, their worst acting jobs ever, and what TV family they wish they could be a part of. (And no, Imperioli doesn't want to be a member of The Sopranos. Again.)
In this clip exclusive to TV Squad, it's again with the Sopranos! This time, O'Mara asks Imperioli about the difference between filming an HBO series and a network series -- and they ALMOST bust out the swear words. Darn it, maybe we should have given them some beer.
(S01E02) I said it before and I'll say it again: Life On Mars has a fantastic soundtrack. They also continue their use of yellow filter to simulate the dirtiness of New York City in the 1970's. When they go to scenes from 2008, the filter becomes blue. I wonder if the creators intended a deeper significance with that?
Let me start with the differences...
(10PM, ABC) series premiere
Imagine life before cell phones, the Internet and 'CSI'-type forensics ... that's where detective Sam Tyler finds himself after he's hit by a car in modern-day New York City.
Tyler awakens in 1973 NYC, with a different boss (Harvey Keitel), new cop cohorts (including 'The Sopranos' Michael Imperioli) and no idea why he's ended up back in time, though there are striking similarities between the bad guy he was pursuing in 2008 and the one he's investigating in 1973.
Is Sam actually in a coma? Is he dead, and 1973 is his afterlife? All questions that will be answered, assuming network execs let him live long enough to make it back to the future.
To enter, leave a comment below before 5:00PM Eastern, Tuesday, September 9 simply telling us which of the premieres you most want to see. As always, we'll randomly choose four winners amongst the eligible entries. Some other details:
- To enter, leave a confirmed comment below stating which NYTVF premiere you'd most like to see.
- The comment must be left before September 9, 2008 at 5:00PM Eastern Time.
- You may enter only once.
- Four winners will be selected in a random drawing.
- Four winners will receive a full festival pass to the New York Television Festival (valued at $175).
- Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 21 and older.
- Winners will be responsible for their own transportation to, from and within New York, and lodging.
It's coming. The table is set, the players are on the field, the sails are raised, and the pretty maids are all in a row. Of course, I speak of the 2008-09 television schedule. In just a few short weeks viewers will be able to dine on a number of favorite and new dishes that are being served by the networks as well as the increasing number of cable channels who are delving into original programming.
While other fall seasons have come and gone with nary a whimper, this season may be different. Due to the prolonged Writers Strike many shows ended their seasons quite early. Programs like Life, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, and Heroes haven't aired original episodes since the end of 2007. Heck, there hasn't been a new episode of The Shield since June of last year! So, the beginning of the 2008-09 season will be a second chance for some of these shows, particularly the ones that premiered last season, to show their worth to fans and the networks.
There have been production changes, the first pilot was trashed, they've inserted new characters, they've remade the mythology of the show (with the approval of the British creators), and now more news. The character of Annie Norris on Life on Mars will be played by Gretchen Mol. Yes, the beautiful, sexy and very blond Gretchen Mol. (Okay, she can dye her hair.)
I have the ultimate respect for Ms. Mol. She was excellent in 3:10 to Yuma (a really amazing Western that should have gotten some Oscar consideration). I just think she's the wrong choice for the role of Annie.
So, now that Viki's visit to heaven -- which did not include Pearly Gates -- has concluded and Sarah and Cristian have gone over the falls -- and look to be dead -- I felt compelled to comment. First, Viki. I really, really like Erika Slezak. She's the Meryl Streep of daytime, able to take on all kinds of stories and make them work. Fortunately for Erika, she didn't have to sing any crappy ABBA songs like poor Meryl in Mamma Mia!